The Google preference for 700-1000 words on every page* is at odds with the freshest look in website design. While designers aren't typically content marketers or SEO gurus, they do pay attention to what holds visitors on the homepage, and what gets them to take certain actions that are prompted by links and buttons.
Although this thumbnail example of a contemporary design features a laser surgery service, this type of look is being used for the newest psychotherapy, medical, and coaching websites too.
The newest thinking for homepages is that they should make it as easy as possible to draw attention to the main purpose of the site -- that is, the main offerings of your busiess -- and then make it interesting and easy for visitors to get where they want to go, without delay and too much distraction.
So gone is the lengthy, carefully crafted marketing message that makes the emotional connection. Gone are the paragraphs of addressing objections. Gone is the mini-bio to reassure readers of your credentials and qualifications.
Long gone is the idea of putting a blog on the homepage -- a great idea that worked well for a while, but that now is better used elsewhere.
Explosion of Mobile Device Search Changes Web Design
All of these changes have a lot to do with what we are learning about how people use cell phones and other small screen mobile devices to search for services.
And what is getting more and more clear is that upwards of 40% of searches are now done on mobile devices -- and that number is expected to grow alot by the end of 2015. We know that people on mobile devices don't read long homepages. They want to go right to the ONE thing that they are looking to know right that second.
Less is More on Homepages These Days
And it has to be the right less. Notice in the sample design that a direct tagline names what is on the mind of the visitor, and a call to action link for a consult appointment is layered right onto the cover photo.
Then each of just 3 small boxes below it is a mere short paragraph for addressing the 3 main concerns that this business knows its clients have.
What you can't see in the sample is that below these three boxes is a brief paragraph and photo for the practice's physician, with a link to her bio page.
And under that is another call to action, and all the contact info, with the phone number in extra large font.
And that's it. That's all that this business's homepage needs.
What to Do with Your Long Marketing Message
*This new design style doesn't mean that all that carefully written lengthy content is dumped. No indeed. It is still needed, and the place for it is on your niche specific pages.
By niche specific page I mean the page where you talk to just the anxious eating disordered college students, and the page where you connect with the frustrated midlife parent of out of control teens while also dealing with their own mom or dad grieving a spouse and moving to assisted living, etc.
Each of your niche specific pages should have a fully developed marketing message of the sort we used to highlight on homepages.
Monochromatic Color and Flat Design are New Too
Another change to design that are being driven by mobile devices is the shift away from multi-color palettes -- with lots of competing colors -- and the decreased use of dark designs. Variety comes now from different shades of blue or whatever your color is, rather than using blue, pink, yellow, and orange and trying to harmonize that while delivering your marketing message.
And lastely, there is greater resistance now to cool 3-D effects like animations, lifted borders and shadows under buttons that make things seem like you might be able to reach out and touch them.
Just like sliders, which are those rotating sets of photos, and flash effects, these special effect slow load time for your pages and make mobile visitors very impatient.
If you feel like your homepage could use a facelift, and are nervous about how to accomplish that, I'd be happy to do a consult with you and provide my design advice.